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What to do during a bad round


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I am interested in what people think the right approach is when you are having a bad non competitive round underway? I am a grinder and love digging out a good score when my swing is not there, but if it is a non-competitive round and my score gets away from me early (front nine) at times I turn my attention to playing differently and working on a few things out on the course.

 

-First thing is I will chase birdies. This means riskier decisions, but also mean hitting some fun shots to pull off. 

-Second I will try to hit shots I am struggling with - nothing to lose so I mise well work the issue out. 

-I will pick a part of my game to focus on doing really well at and build of that. (I do this when I grind too)

 

The first and second point are the opposite of what I will do when I am grinding. 

 

 

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Don't know how it plays into anything else, including my many weaknesses, lol, but I tend almost always to view the nines separately when I play.  Bad front, I just "start over" on the back and see what happens.  42-38 still fun for me, if the back turns out nice.

 

Bad back nine - refreshments and grilled red meat on my deck!

 

If it really is a day when I've got nothing vs. just some bad holes or decisions then I just go with it and move on to the next day.

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9 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

Don't know how it plays into anything else, including my many weaknesses, lol, but I tend almost always to view the nines separately when I play.  Bad front, I just "start over" on the back and see what happens.  42-38 still fun for me, if the back turns out nice.

 

Bad back nine - refreshments and grilled red meat on my deck!

 

If it really is a day when I've got nothing vs. just some bad holes or decisions then I just go with it and move on to the next day.

Yes some times I treat the back nine as a 'new' nine and go with that, but typically I am trying to find something I can use in the next round.

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6 minutes ago, 2bGood said:

Yes some times I treat the back nine as a 'new' nine and go with that, but typically I am trying to find something I can use in the next round.

You also compete don't you?

 

I really don't and I'm sure I'd have a different approach if I played competitions, had one coming up, etc.  Me?  I know in a day or two I'll be back out and see what happens and just don't put much pressure on myself to improve - which is why I probably don't improve as much as I could.

 

 

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If front 9 got away from me...I'll try to focus on improving on the back 9 to mentally show myself progress.

 

Sometimes though...it's a complete golf/swing meltdown and you're gonna have those days.  I used to get really mad and angry, but as I've grown older, I've realized...it's gonna happen and if it's gonna happen today, I might as well reward myself with a beer or some other beverage...maybe a nice cigar and just go with it. 

 

You can't have the sweet without the sour.

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I'm typically playing for something every round, if not total score, skins and junk, so every hole still means something. If things go wayward with the swing, the battle is to figure it out on the course such that I can still scape away something. Unless I am playing solo, then I'm not keeping score, playing multiple balls, trying different shots around the greens, etc.

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23 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

You also compete don't you?

 

I really don't and I'm sure I'd have a different approach if I played competitions, had one coming up, etc.  Me?  I know in a day or two I'll be back out and see what happens and just don't put much pressure on myself to improve - which is why I probably don't improve as much as I could.

 

 

Yes I play about 40-50 organised events rounds per year. I grind hard in those.

 

I play around 30 cash games where losing hurts.

 

I play around 40-50 casual rounds with small money on the line (this is what I am talking about in this thread). 

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I'd say have a beer, but I do that during good rounds too...

 

Still, solid advice.

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2 hours ago, 2bGood said:

Yes I play about 40-50 organised events rounds per year. I grind hard in those.

 

I play around 30 cash games where losing hurts.

 

I play around 40-50 casual rounds with small money on the line (this is what I am talking about in this thread). 

You are in a different world!  Hope some gritty competitors pitch in here.

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I play my rounds in 9's anyway...so if my first 9 gets the best of me, my focus for the next 9 is usually just fairways and greens....whatever I need to do that day to accomplish that is my goal.  Some days it's eliminate the right side, some days it's eliminate the left side, some days its leave the driver in the bag, some days it's leave the 60 wedge in the bag....

 

Inevitably I will end up in a tournament with things going backwards early, and righting the ship by getting simple again has worked for me for 20+ years.

 

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3 hours ago, Hawkeye77 said:

You are in a different world!  Hope some gritty competitors pitch in here.

Hope you don't get the wrong impression, I play in handicapped events, most at are at my club with the others mainly 2 day events in the area. Nothing special, but it does have a different vibe then just playing with friends. 

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8 hours ago, 2bGood said:

Hope you don't get the wrong impression, I play in handicapped events, most at are at my club with the others mainly 2 day events in the area. Nothing special, but it does have a different vibe then just playing with friends. 

Not at all.  I pretty much play for nothing any time I play - I think if I was playing casual rounds but knowing I'd be competing the next day or that week my attitude or approach would likely be different and the approach I do have (somewhat relaxed) probably isn't too relevant to someone who plays in any kind of events regularly.  I'd love to belong to a club and have those opportunities but there isn't a true private club within 80 miles of where I live, lol.

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1 hour ago, Hawkeye77 said:

Not at all.  I pretty much play for nothing any time I play - I think if I was playing casual rounds but knowing I'd be competing the next day or that week my attitude or approach would likely be different and the approach I do have (somewhat relaxed) probably isn't too relevant to someone who plays in any kind of events regularly.  I'd love to belong to a club and have those opportunities but there isn't a true private club within 80 miles of where I live, lol.

Yes I am really lucky there is really nice club 2-3min drive from my house and about a 20min walk home if I plan on having too many beers. For me club golf is a different world, because of the access to so much 'competitive' golf and the huge numbers and variety of golf friends you make. 

 

Mindset wise I am not sure your experience or anyone else's is not relevant. Everyone has their golf mountain to climb 😄

 

I guess the one difference is I play enough golf that I don't need to get the most out of every round. For guys that play once a week and can't play in the winter, I could see every round being sacred. 

 

 

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When I’m having a bad round I take mental notes on what is happening so I can work on it later (Driving, ballstriking, chipping, etc). During the round I fall back on what is working (hopefully something is), and try and pepper in some high risk/reward shots which would boost morale and change the round momentum if they go right. If nothing is working and there are no folks behind you work on the shots real time. If there are folks behind you keep pace of play.

 

Example: driver missing; focus on recovery shots with a wood or iron and go pin seeking when possible. After the round focus on driver at the range or into net at home.

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Just start hitting punch shots with a purposeful flight. 

 

For example:

If I'm struggling with my swing there is no way I'm hitting a green by aiming at the center of the green and doing a full swing. I have a much better chance and it's more satisfying to purposely aim right and try to punch a draw in there with 1-2 more clubs. 

 

Same thing on the tee. On bad days aiming down the middle and hoping for the best is an automatic lost ball but if I tee it down a bit and purposely aim at the left trees with a minor setup adjustment there is a good chance I'll cut it back in play. 

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21 minutes ago, mgoblue83 said:

Just start hitting punch shots with a purposeful flight. 

 

For example:

If I'm struggling with my swing there is no way I'm hitting a green by aiming at the center of the green and doing a full swing. I have a much better chance and it's more satisfying to purposely aim right and try to punch a draw in there with 1-2 more clubs. 

 

Same thing on the tee. On bad days aiming down the middle and hoping for the best is an automatic lost ball but if I tee it down a bit and purposely aim at the left trees with a minor setup adjustment there is a good chance I'll cut it back in play. 

I might take that approach more when I am trying to grind out a good score. But if the score is a lost cause I going to swing with some freedom and try to find my swing. 

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OP, I take the same approach as you, but more after 14 holes, not 9. Nine holes is plenty of time to turn things around. I'll go 40-30 a few times every year. 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/7/2021 at 10:39 AM, b.mattay said:

OP, I take the same approach as you, but more after 14 holes, not 9. Nine holes is plenty of time to turn things around. I'll go 40-30 a few times every year. 

12 is probably my go/no go hole. It is rare I break par and don't have the game to go really low. My game is more about making lots of pars and a very few bogies or worse than making birdies. It is pretty rare I make more than 3 birdies in a round, so I if I am 8 or 9 over after 12, going 4 under for the last 6 holes is not going to happen (though I went 3 under for 6 last week 😄humble brag).

 

I guess I can do the math at some point in the round and know my score won't count for my handicap and then I decide whether I want to practice my grinding or work on something else a bit more fun.

 

I guess my version of grinding is pretty conservative and though it is fun to put a round together, no individual shot is really allot of fun when I am grinding. It is all about keeping the ball in play, and eliminating the opportunity for big numbers which typically means hitting pretty basic shots and not chasing any pins that could get me in trouble. I am told I can be very frustrating to play when I am grinding as I will 'mediocre you to death'. No great shots, but all okay shots makes par most of the time. To be clear I don't want to grind, but if my swing is not there I know how to do it and still shoot around my cap or lower. 

 

 

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There’s always a chance you’ll ace one on the back 9...

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Hard time indeed. All the 18 hole rounds I play are competitive so I always try to find a way not to mess up big time while I try to find some rhythm to go on.  Sometimes it’s agony for me but I’m mostly a grinder and try to avoid getting angry at any cost. 

 

I play the conservative shots until I find something that puts me back in swing and I focus on a flowing putting stroke to avoid score chaos. I’ve often pulled through with a lousy ballstriking even though it’s very hard. The real helpless days are when your putting sucks. I often try to imitate my childhood hero Tom Watson on his worst days but I must be Tom’s Mr Hyde LOL. 

 

And then not too often you have THAT day. I simply call the quits on grinding and try to focus on the 19th hole or barbecue I’m cooking tonight or whatever while I socialise with another poor soul in my group.  

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